Hadasit launches Jewish-Arab Biomed incubator in Galilee

November 14, 2011 at 8:12 am | Posted in Investment, Israel, Life sciences, Medical Devices, R&D | Leave a comment

Hadasit, the Technology Transfer Company of Hadassah Medical Organization, has launched Ways, an incubator for joint Jewish-Arab biomed ventures in the Galilee. In addition to an initial 7.5 million shekel investment by Hadasit, several million dollars have been pledged to Ways from social organizations as well. Ways will invest $500,000 in 12 projects each, which will be matched by the Office of the Chief Scientist.

Israel Ranked 22nd Most Competitive Country by WEF

September 20, 2011 at 5:30 pm | Posted in Investment, Israel | Leave a comment
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The World Economic Forum (WEF) in its annual survey of 142 countries rated Israel as the 22nd most competitive country in the world, 2 spots above its ranking in 2010.

The report states, “Israel’s main strengths remain its world-class capacity for innovation (6th), which rests on highly innovative businesses that benefit from the presence of the world’s best research institutions, geared toward the needs of the business sector. The excellent innovation capacity, which is additionally supported by the government’s public procurement policies, is reflected in the country’s high number of patents (4th). Its favorable financial environment (10th), particularly the solid availability of venture capital (2nd), has further contributed to making Israel an innovation powerhouse; these elements have become stronger in the course of the past year.”

Israel’s Investment Promotion Centre

Unemployment Drops to 5.5% as Israeli Economy Continues to Expand

September 20, 2011 at 5:28 pm | Posted in Investment, Israel | Leave a comment
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Unemployment in Israel dropped to 5.5% a 28-year low, in the second quarter of 2011, from 6% in the first quarter. Unemployment among women was even lower, at 5.4%, continuing a trend that began in mid-2009.

In the second quarter of 2010, the average unemployment rate was 6.7%.

According to a recent forecast by the Bank of Israel the average unemployment rate for all of 2011 will be around 5.8%. In 2010, the average unemployment rate was 6.7%.

Israel’s Investment Promotion Centre

Civilian R&D Spending Up in 2010

September 20, 2011 at 5:25 pm | Posted in Investment, Israel, R&D | Leave a comment
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Israel’s total spending on civilian research and development totaled 35.8 billion shekels (about $10 billion) in 2010 and made up 4.4% of the gross domestic product. The country’s spending on civilian R&D rose by 1.2% in 2010, following a 3.4% drop in 2009 when the global financial crisis weighed on investments. R&D had increased 3.8% in 2008.

Israel’s investment Promotion Centre

S&P Upgrades Israel to A+

September 20, 2011 at 5:23 pm | Posted in Investment, Israel | Leave a comment
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Standard & Poor’s upgraded Israel’s long-term foreign-currency sovereign rating from A to A+ with a “Stable” outlook, citing Israel’s “prosperous and resilient economy, strong institutions, ongoing fiscal consolidation, and robust external performance. The rating agency also reaffirmed Israel’s local currency rating at AA-.

“The rating action reflects our view of Israel’s improved economic policy flexibility as a result of strong growth and careful macroeconomic management,” S&P said. “Israel is on a credible path toward continued government debt burden reduction and stronger external indicators.”

Israel’s Investment Promotion Centre

South African Government Confuses Renewable Energy Developers and Investors

July 26, 2011 at 1:57 pm | Posted in concentrated solar power, Energy, Environmental Technologies, Investment, Israel, Renewable energy, South Africa | 1 Comment
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The process of promoting generation of renewable energy in South Africa takes a long time. This is not a surprise, that was the case with many countries, as well as Israel. Recently, It was published that the regulator is considering to abandon the Feed-in-Tariff process which puts the tariffs in advance and is reviewing the possibility to go for a bidding process where the winner would be the bidder that will offer the lowest price.

I think that the South African misses two important points. It will leave the game for the biggest players only and will lose an opportunity to create jobs around the evolving renewable energy market, or at least, will create much less jobs. Second, the bidding process has proved itself an efficient and at least in Israel failed to meet time targets and is to be abandoned.

Israel dealt with a similar debate, whether to adopt the Feed-in-Tariff method or the bidding method to promote the generation of renewable energy into the grid. While the electricity Authority (the equivalent body in Israel for NERSA) supported the REFIT process and the Ministry of National Infrastructures (the equivalent to the Department of Energy) and the Ministry of Finance preferred the Bidding process. Israel decided to publish REFIT in 2008, while issuing few tenders in the bidding process.

While the bidding based projects are not making big progress the REFIT based projects generate 100 MW of small systems today, an approved accumulated capacity of 150 MW that will be implemented soon. Quota of 300 MW for medium size plants was published, projects with the accumulated capacity of 200MW where given licenses and other are awaiting approval – out of 1.3 GW of proposals.

Tenders in the bidding process published in 2008 and no one was awarded the contract yet. There is only one participant in each one of in two tenders for CSP plants (100MW each). There is also a tender for a PV plant (30MW) but bidders didn’t submit their final proposals yet.

  • Promotion of entrepreneurship and job creation: The Bidding process limits the game to few big players and excludes the small ones. The REFIT process allows to small and medium companies to participate. Israel developed an entire new renewable energy industry with close to a 100 active companies.
  • Efficiency: In bidding process the government becomes very involved and often intervenes in engineering and technological issues that is not capable to deal with. That’s creates delays and complications in the process.
  • Meeting the targets: Publishing tenders takes a lot of time, often much more than expected. That can result in not meeting the schedule targets. There is also a fear that companies that will lose the tenders will appeal to court and create more delays.
  • Simple rules of the game: the REFIT process puts together very simple rules that make it more transparent and easy to deal with.
  • The disadvantage of the REFIT process is that prices set at the beginning of the process do not reflect reduction in costs for the developers in the future. The solution is to publish quotas and a gradually decreasing REFIT.

All countries in Europe have decided to adopt the REFIT method. Israel found it as the most efficient way to promote renewable energy. I hope that South Africa will take the same way.

Dr. Ilan Suliman, former Vice chairman of the Israeli Electricity Authority has helped in putting these points together.

Fitch Affirms Israel at “A”: Outlook Stable

July 7, 2011 at 11:50 am | Posted in Investment, Israel | Leave a comment
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Fitch ratings affirmed Israel’s long-term foreign currency issuer default rating (IDR) at “A” and local currency IDR at “A+” with a stable outlook.

“The affirmation reflects the resumption of the downward trend in public deficits and debt, the robust outlook for Israeli growth, and a strengthening in the sovereign’s external balance sheet,” said Purvi Harlalka, director at Fitch’s Middle East and Africa Sovereign Ratings Group.

 The ratings agency noted that the improvement in public finances reflects both revenue growth as a result of buoyant output, as well as expenditure control, resulting from the adoption of new fiscal rules. Given that, the central government deficit fell to 3.8% of GDP in 2010 from 5.2% in 2009 and debt moderated to 76.6% of GDP from 79.3% in 2009.

Fitch also noted that the Israel market would likely benefit from recent substantial gas discoveries and a much lower level of unfunded pension liabilities than in other OECD countries.

Israel’s Investment Promotion Centre

Israel Start Up – Illinois learns from Israel

June 15, 2011 at 11:29 am | Posted in ICT, Investment, Israel, Life sciences, Medical Devices, Pharmaceuticals, R&D, Renewable energy, software, Start-ups, Telecommunication, Trade, Water | Leave a comment
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The Academy for Entrepreneurial Leadership traveled to Israel in March 2011 to experience and document Israel’s amazing start-up community. They met with various start-up companies, incubator programs, and venture capitalists to discover what makes Israel, an incredibly tiny country, so successful when it comes to new venture creation. they hope to apply what we have learned to inspire and enhance the start-up community in Illinois. This documentary feature was premiered at the Start-up Illinois Dinner on May 19th, 2011: Open link.

Thanks  to my colleague, Mr. Yariv Becher, Israel’s Trade Attache to the Mid-West, based in Chicago, USA, for sharing this link with me.

IMF Forecasts Israeli Economy to Expand 3.8% in 2011

May 3, 2011 at 6:06 pm | Posted in Investment, Israel | Leave a comment
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The International Monetary Fund recently increased its growth prediction for the Israeli economy to 3.8% in 2011 and 2012.

Israel was cited along with Australia, Canada, Korea, Norway and Sweden, as a country in which economic conditions and underlying price pressures are somewhat stronger than in other advanced economies. The IMF also predicted that unemployment in Israel will drop to 5.5 percent in 2011 and 5 percent in 2012 from 6.7 percent last year.

The Bank of Israel has forecast the Israeli economy to grow 4.5% in 2011 and 4% in 2012. The Israeli economy grew 4.5% in 2010, and reached a 4-year record of 7.7% in the fourth quarter of 2010.

Israel’s Investment Promotion Centre

The English Website of the Israeli Ministry of Finance has been Upgraded

October 17, 2010 at 5:00 pm | Posted in Investment, Israel | Leave a comment
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The web site of the Ministry of Finance of Israel has been revamped. The new website concentrates economic information for the non-Hebrew reading audience looking for materials on the ministry and the Israeli economy, and contains the major economic information relevant for foreign visitors, investors and business partners of Israeli companies:

Ministry of Finance of Israel

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